Computer-aided drafting and design professionals use specialized software to create blueprints or schematics to illustrate how a structure or item should be made. They may work on plans for buildings, or mechanical or electronic equipment.
Computer-aided drafting and design operators, also called drafters, create plans and technical drawings that are used in the construction of electronic, architectural and mechanical items. They learn to use CADD through certificate and associate's degree programs. Salaries vary by industry, but pay usually tops out around $74k, according to PayScale.com 2019.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in drafting|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||0% for all drafters*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$49,651 for all CADD operators**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.
Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Salary Information
CADD salaries vary depending on a person's drafting specialty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical drafters earned a median annual salary of $55,920 in 2018, while architectural and civil drafters made median pay of $54,920 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com reported that as of September 2019, most CADD operators made salaries between $35k and $74k. The site indicated that the majority of CADD technicians earned slightly less at $33k to $71k annually.
CADD Career Information
CADD operators use design software to create technical plans to show how products or structures are intended to be made. CADD drawings may include specifications, procedures and materials that engineers, scientists and architects can put to use. Computerized plans allow for quick changes to be built into designs.
CADD drafters can have various specialties. For instance, drafters may work in fields such as:
- Civil engineering
- Process pipelines
In order to find entry-level employment in CADD drafting, individuals must be proficient with CADD systems. CADD training programs are available through technical or community colleges as certificate or associate's degree programs.
Programs might include courses in 2- and 3-dimensional design rendering, as well as technical drafting. Additional training and voluntary certification in CADD software is available from vendors.
As per BLS projections, drafting jobs in general are predicted to be 0% between 2018 and 2028. The same report noted that people entering into the electrical and electronics drafting specialty were predicted to have the best career opportunities. Jobs in that specialty are expected to grow by 3% from 2018 to 2028, which is slower than to the average rate for all U.S. professions.
Computer-aided drafting and design professionals can specialize in a number of fields, including architecture, mechanics, aeronautics and civil engineering. They are required to complete a certificate or associate's degree that trains them to use computer-aided drafting and design software. Professional certification is optional.